Aberfan Post-Office & Convenience Store owner was stunned by the full impact of Dextra Lighting’s cutting-edge LED luminaires on his establishment. His surprise begs the question: What do end-users actually expect from LED lighting nowadays?
LED lighting has always been surrounded by both hype and skepticism since the moment it took the market by storm. Industry claims regarding its benefits have largely focused on its energy saving properties and consequently manufacturers have pushed to provide clear and accessible product information and guidance. This task has not been easy as market researchers still report some confusion amongst customers with regards to LED performance (partly due to negative experiences in the early years of LED’s development and the pervasiveness of low quality products). Despite this, customer awareness of LED today, from how returns of investment rates are calculated to the true meaning of cost of ownership, has risen exponentially.
End-users are inevitably preoccupied with weighing manufacturer’s claims against their own practical realities, seeking answers to vital questions such as: “How much will this upgrade actually cost me?”, “How much payback can I really expect?” “Is it really more reliable?”. However, with the general emphasis on cost and energy saving, the question of “how will LED improve a store’s environment?”, can sometimes take a backseat (with the exception of high end/luxury retail outlets and now major supermarkets who have identified a link between better lighting, improved customer experience and increased revenue). The latter question is also difficult to answer as unlike performance data, “look” and “feel” can neither be accurately tested nor represented in exact figures. As a result, it is important for manufacturers and suppliers to highlight the first-hand experiences of customers in the retail sector, to show exactly what high quality LED lighting is capable of.
One of these positive experiences is that of Mr. Bernard McCormack, proprietor of the Aberfan store. As expected, Mr. McCormack was initially attracted to the much publicised energy saving capabilities of LED and approached Dextra Lighting with the intent to reduce his electricity bills. After all, with the exception of his refrigerators, lighting consisted of the main portion of his store’s electrical load. As with many customers, he did not expect any major aesthetic differences apart from a general “refreshment” of the area.
The project began by conducting a thorough survey to ascertain the performance of the existing fittings and determine the appropriate light levels for the shop floor. The previously installed switch-start recessed fittings with aluminium louvres, produced a darkened ceiling effect characteristic of such older generation lighting, whilst the wall racks suffered from what surveyors described as “louvre light cut off” and reduced light above chest level.
The cure for this chronic shortage of light was the ARCUS LED luminaire. This fitting immediately enhanced the appearance of the store by providing a more effective and even distribution of light, whilst simultaneously reducing energy consumption by 62%.
As with all products within Dextra Lighting’s LED range, the ARCUS LED utilises the latest Philips LED sources and drivers, offering excellent energy efficiency and minimal maintenance. These high quality components play a central role in providing the rapid return on investment that Mr. McCormack, like most retailers, are looking for. In addition, the luminaire’s performance is optimised by the highly efficient optic design of its twin extruded polycarbonate diffusers, ensuring that the luminaire makes the most of the LED sources installed, offering an impressive of LOR of 81%. The ARCUS’s optics are designed to create a bright and uniform distribution of light, making all areas of the store equally lit, eliminating unwanted dark spots.
Efficiency and performance aside, the ARCUS LED has been designed to offer a new aesthetic to Dextra Lighting’s LED modular range. Its gull-wing housing and twin polycarbonate diffuser give the fitting itself an attractive modern appearance which has proven increasingly popular amongst customers in the retail sector. The luminaire also offers lumen outputs of up to 8,800, making it ideal for retail applications such as this, but also receptions and high level atriums.
Although Mr. McCormack did not require specific customisations for his refurbishment , the ARCUS LED can be delivered with a variety of options. These include a range of dimming functions (HFR dimming, DALI dimming, Switch dimming and DSI dimming) and sensors (passive infra-red or microwave), which can maximise energy efficiency by adapting to daylight and circulation hours as well as providing clients the flexibility to adjust light levels according to their needs. The luminaire is suitable for both lay-in applications in 15mm and 24mm exposed T ceilings systems. Three hour integral emergency is also available with this product.
The Tydfil based shop has been completely transformed using Dextra Lighting’s state-of-the-art luminaires in a careful and strategic manner. When it comes to “look” and “feel”, LED technology has advanced so quickly in recent years, and both manufactures and designers have responded to the growing demand for lighting aimed at enhancing the hospitality aspect of the retail experience. LED now offers high performing replacements for all existing light fittings types and new ground-breaking designs, all with an incredible choice of colour temperatures, lumen outputs and controls. Although minimising costs is the top priority for most customers looking to upgrade, the aesthetic possibilities of LED are becoming driving aspects in the market.
For Mr. McCormack the results certainly proved more than what he bargained for. In addition to his considerable surprise to the vast improvement, he jovially adds that the new LED lights will now show whether his cleaners have done a good job or not.
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